Duty of Care

 

Duty of Care

All organisations with five or more employees who drive for work need to be able to prove that they have met the minimum standards under their Duty of Care for employees.

Are you compliant?

Can you answer 'yes' to the following questions?

Do you currently:
  • * Have a corporate risk assessment and a system for managing road risk?
  • * Have a risk mitigation plan in place to address general and specific needs uncovered by the risk assessment?
  • * Have an audit trail to be able to prove the actions at both corporate and employee level?
  • * Have processes in place that cover employees driving their own cars on business as well as company cars?

Any organisations who don't meet these standards are not managing road risk and are breaking the law. This carries significant risk exposure and the Health & Safety Executive, VOSA and Police may pursue a prosecution against the organisation and any or all of its Directors, management and staff. We are committed to providing simple, practical, easy-to-use solutions to all of our customers, enabling them to run their fleets safely and efficiently. Our SafePlan product will assist you to identify and meet your Duty of Care obligations surrounding employees that use vehicles on company business.

Corporate Manslaughter - Director's Liability

The focus and responsibility for occupational road risk lies with the Directors of Maritime and Coastguard Agency. The Corporate Manslaughter Bill is designed so a director or organisation can be prosecuted where the following applies:

The Common Law defines the liability for work-related deaths to be: “Gross negligence manslaughter – breach of duty so grossly negligent that the defendant can be deemed to have such a disregard for the life of the deceased that it should be deemed criminal as deserving of punishment by the State”.
  • * Negligence - can include failure to warn of risks
  • * Breach of Statutory Duty – imposed by Health & Safety regulations unless the regulations provide otherwise
  • * Reverse Proof – "It shall be for the accused to prove that it was not practicable or not reasonably practicable to do more than was done to satisfy the duty or requirement, or that there was no better practicable means than was in fact used to satisfy the duty or requirement"
  • * The Director’s Liability applies equally to employees and other people who may be affected by their employees' work activities

 

Corporate Manslaughter

It is believed that Corporate Manslaughter will become the 'prosecution of choice' where employees are involved in fatal accidents. The Bill was finally passed on 23rd July 2007 and came into effect on 6th April 2008. The new Corporate Manslaughter and Homicide Act does not make individual directors responsible for manslaughter unless they are separately liable under the existing common law. Under the new Act a company will be guilty of corporate manslaughter if its activities cause a person's death because of the grossly inadequate way in which the company's activities are managed or organised. This could lead to an unlimited fine.

The Act will require a court to consider whether the way in which senior managers organised the company's activities caused the person’s death. Senior managers could include strategic and operational managers, with day-to-day responsibility for an employee’s activities. Compliance with existing health and safety legislation, in all aspects of employment, will be paramount under the Act, as well as having a safety culture within the company. Drivers of private vehicles Specifically for drivers who drive their own vehicles, both employees and volunteers, including those who only occasionally drive on the organisation's business in their own vehicle, there are number of minimum conditions that must be applied:

  • * The vehicle is taxed, has a current MOT (where applicable), has a full service history and is insured for business use. Documentation should be available on request.
  • * There should be regular physical vehicle checks
  • * The driver should only carry passengers for whom there are seat belts
  • * The driver should not use the vehicle in conditions for which it is not designed

 

Three things you need to know about road risk:

1. It is a legal requirement to conduct an audit of your road risk.

2. Company directors can be made liable for employee car accidents.

3. Controlling risk is the only way to control insurance premiums.

 

For more information and to arrange an appointment to discuss your compliance please contact us on 01825 720900 or sales@neva-consultants.com